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Letters, July 20, 2012

PUBLISHED: 10:26 20 July 2012 | UPDATED: 10:26 20 July 2012

Savings are from

a large contract

FURTHER to the figures published in the Mercury, July 13, “Plans to save £500,000 a year from the £600,000 toilets budget”, I would like to correct this information. We as a council are looking to make savings of at least £500,000 per year, from a large contract that we have with Great Yarmouth Borough Services (Norse). We are not looking to save £500,000 from our £600,000 public toilet budget as reported.

From April 2013, Great Yarmouth Borough Council will have the grant it receives from the Conservative led Coalition Government cut by 44pc, placing Great Yarmouth in the bottom 10 Local Authorities for funding.To achieve a balanced budget by 2015/16 we need to find £10m of savings over the next three years. Part of these savings will be the change in the structure of running our public toilets. The cost of running these is £601,000 per year, of which staff costs are £76,600, and for tourism and environmental services £184,500, a total of £261,000.

With the changes to the service we are looking to make savings of £81,000 per year from these staffing costs. With these proposals, whilst helping the council with the unavoidable need to reduce costs, it will actually provide an enhanced service in respect of extending opening times for a number of the toilets. Council officers are satisfied the frequency of visits agreed with GYB Services within these arrangements, is sufficient to provide the appropriate cleansing, although this will be kept under constant review following implementation.

Cllr TREVOR WAINWRIGHT

Magdalen Ward

Gorleston area

meeting a must

THE next meeting of the “Gorleston Area Committee (Gorleston Forum) is on July 23 at 6,30pm is at the Mesh ofice in the Macey Room on Shrublands Way, formerly the Youth and Adult Centre.

The meeting is now much more resident-friendly than previous attempts by the old administration. If you have a point to make or would like to know more about Gorleston matters please make sure you attend because it allows Gorlestonians the opportunity to take part in what happens in our town. This is the opportunity we have been fighting for for several years. The only way it will be effective is for all residents who believe it is essential we have a voice in our affairs, to show we want to take control of what happens in Gorleston, is to take part in what in effect is our “Parish Council”

The recent rally to fight parking on our prom was highly effective, proving people power works. The Gorleston Area Conservation Plan will be a vital area where we can all give our views and and suggestions regarding our town’s future.

There has now been an admission that Gorleston has not received sufficient attention from the council. We now have a democratic opportunity to have a voice which we must take advantage of. If it is ignored the fault will be ours.

DENNIS DURRANT

Brett Avenue,

Gorleston

Unauthorised

blue badge use

I WAS interested in Freddy Fowler’s letter on disabled parking, July 13. I have a blue badge because I only have one leg and my wife has one due to having spinal stenosis. I would suggest that his figure of 90pc abuse is based on some erroneous observations as his letter contains some basic errors.

With a blue badge you are entitled to park on double yellow lines for three hours so this is not an abuse. If you park on the pavement even with a blue badge you can still get a ticket. The borough allow blue badge holders to park in residential bays so this is not an abuse. Parking too close to a corner is dangerous but all drivers do this and you can get a ticket for it even with blue badge.

All in all he seems to have no legitimate complaint about blue badge holders.However I agree there is abuse of the blue badge system but I believe this is by people using badges they are not entitled to.

Every badge has a picture of the holder on the back and if policemen, PCSOs or parking attendants see someone using a badge when they do not seem to be disabled, check to see they are entitled to the badge I think this would significantly reduce this sort of abuse. I am sure no genuine holder of a badge would object to this.

DEREK BROWN

Royal Naval Hospital

Great Yarmouth

Recalling the

busy quayside

WITH the closing of the HSBC bank, formerly the Midland bank, and before that the art deco Yare Hotel on Hall Quay, it brought back a memorial visit to the building to me. In the school summer holidays in 1960 I worked at the Steward and Patterson beer stores on North Quay stacking beer crates and loading lorries for beer deliveries. This building was on the site of which is now Havenbridge House and one day the foreman asked me to go on a delivery for a change. Thinking of riding around the country side delivering beer to the Broadland pubs filled me with joy. Imagine my disappointment when we ended up at the Yare Hotel 200 yards away with a full lorry load to unload.

After we had unloaded the dray men were offered a drink, a pint of mild. They were told not to bring me again as I had asked for Honeysuckle Ale which was 1s/6d (7p) - a fortune in those days.

On another subject: reading the article about the autographs in the old Yarmouth book mentioned by Peggotty I can recognise most of the names mentioned as being the people in my year, being the first intake at the new, Technical High School on Oriel Avenue, Gorleston

in September 1955. In 1959 they would have been leaving school, so it’s probably a memento of their classmates and to remind them of the good times at the school with Mr Parkin and his staff.

PETER DAVIS

Beechwood Road

Hemsby

Fine poem by

a fine fighter

BROWSING through some old books recently, to my surprise I came across this poem written by ex-seaman Jim Lawlor; who I knew as a professional boxer who fought at Great Yarmouth Hippodrome, in the days before the war. I began to wonder if I had unearthered the work of some undiscovered Milton of the Thomas Gray ilk. The poem entitled Yesterday reads:

“To live again those days now gone, when we were fit and well. To hear the crowd; the boos and cheers, it did not matter what. We had no qualms, nor had we fear, nor did we earn a lot. We strove the public just to please and felt true Galahads when foes slumped to their knees. Although we had not much to eat in those rough days of gore. We fought like Trojans just to eat although we suffered hell. Never the likes will be seen again only memory to tell of men like Driscoll, Wilde and Lynch, Berg and Harvey and Far. Those names remembered so well.”

I thought perhaps your readers, might well have memories or news of this sportsman - our hero of old in these parts.

W H HAMILTON-DEANE

Gorleston

Norfolk’s port

dream no more

A FEW weeks ago, with the appointment of Mr Frater, as CEO of EastPort, the sun seemed to come out from behind a cloud. He told us he wanted to fulfil the original promise of the port and would look again at ferries and containers; the original reason for construction.

Sadly we now know Norfolk’s dream of a gateway port with the aim of attracting manufacturing business to the area is no more. With independent figures predicting over a 100pc increase in containers by 2030 and other ports taking them on, despite challenging times, apparently there is no future in them. The reason given is we can’t compete with Felixstowe and the new London gateway terminal.

This however, was never the aim with Yarmouth being only a feeder port to supply European hubs such as Rotterdam with goods produced in Norfolk, by companies such as Pasta Foods, Panalpina etc. It was to provide them with ease of access to a local port. The logisitcs of the ferry and container concept was to also drive local infrastructure.

For example dualling the A47, third river crossing, improved rail link and the provision of rail freight. We are seemingly left now with nothing to drive these projects. As the wind turbines for example arrive and depart purely by sea, making the port insular from the town, I fear jobs would have been created by attracting manufacturer’s haulers etc, will now be replaced by fewer jobs in the energy sector. A sector, Mr Frater, should realise we have served for several decades without IPH.

It is also concerning there is no mention of growing the general goods, such as that covered by Gleadell and Bunns, both of whom wish to use the outer harbour to trade with Europe and beyond. As for the claim the outer harbour can be supported by the river port, this is a u-turn even the coalition couldn’t dream-up.

S WILLIAMS

Great Yarmouth

I attended the

Duncan School

I REFER to the article, June 29, and would like to correct the post-war history of Duncan House School and Duncan Hall School. Duncan House School was opened after the second world war by Rex Morgan-Hughes in about 1946. I attended this school which was based at Albert Square opposite the Masonic Lodge, just down from the Carlton Hotel. Rex Morgan-Hughes married my father’s sister Cassie before the war. About 1947 Rex Morgan-Hughes purchased Scratby Hall, my father’s company converted this to a private school and was named Duncan Hall School. I attended as a weekly boarder until the end of 1949 when John Morgan-Hughes and I went to The Leys at Cambridge. Many Duncan Hall boys still live in the area.

MICHAEL MOORE

Spain

Shirley here?

CAN any of your readers settle a pub dispute? Did Shirley Bassey ever perform in Great Yarmouth and if so, where and when?

EMRYS PARRY

Northgate Street, Yarmouth

WE posted this question on our Facebook page and these are some of the replies: “Britannia Pier but don’t know when”; “At the Regal in the 60s”; “It was at the Royal Aquarium Theatre in 1964.”

Why the shortfall

in chapel funds?

WITH reference to Mrs Stone’s recent criticism of Mr Cooper; I read this week’s edition of the Mercury to find what? According to Mercury reports, GYBC has transferred an amount of £500,000 from the Winter Gardens budget to the St George’s Chapel project.

No explanations were reported as to why this was necessary ie to fund a shortfall in funding, support the remedial work to get the project back on schedule etc, and no real explanations were provided as to what the financial impact might be later to the borough once the London Olympics is history.

Whilst the project is wholly worthwhile (otherwise it wouldn’t have received Heritage Lottery Funding) it’s success does appear to rest with the voluntary support of local residents? I assume unpaid (the essence of the Big Society). In the same edition we find the council is attempting to save the same amount from its budgeted £600,000 per annum in respect of public conveniences, a service vital to local leisure tourism. The impact - people who have done a remarkable job (award-winning) in keeping these facilities impeccably clean in the past will lose their jobs!

This Mrs Stone is why people like John Cooper, Dennis Durrant and Pauline Lynch do a valuable service to the ratepayers, and might I add, National Lottery patrons (Heritage Lottery Fund), of the borough. We just want the full facts of these major financial transactions to be made readily available for public scrutiny, with an opportunity for further public debate, openly and transparently. Without this, we as ratepayers and voters cannot possibly know whether our elected, local government representatives are doing the best for their constituencies and constituents.

DAVID WILKINSON

Email

Parents’ reaction

is depressing

I WAS depressed to read of the reaction of parents to the proposed 45 hour week at the new Greenacre School. As a parent of four children all of whom are lucky enough to be educated privately and therefore benefiting from “extra curricular activities”, I find it astonishing that anyone would do other than embrace these opportunities. It is ideas like this that if successful and replicated enough will lead to private education withering on the vine, to the benefit of us all.

ROGER COMBE

Bayfield Hall

Holt

Fighting again to

keep standards

ONCE again the residents of Great Yarmouth and Gorleston must fight to maintain the standards of the borough. We have had the issue of increased parking on Gorleston seafront, and then there was the fight to reinstate the Pier car park and now we have something more widespread the toilets.

It is quite incredible that at the very time when the borough strives to maintain its status as a premier holiday resort the council chooses to tinker with that most important of amenities, the toilet. The one thing people will always remember on a visit to a destination is the loos, and it is not just the visitors put out these amenities are used by local people week in and week out. So look at this as an attack on those facilities for which we pay with our taxes.

We don’t need Market Gates open until seven, and the seafront toilets might open till 10pm but if they are dirty and unhygienic they will merely paint a poor picture to more people. We don’t need to wait for deterioration in standards; you only have to compare the standards between the attended toilets and the unattended toilets now. That is not a criticism of the mobile cleaners but nothing can replace a cleaner on site, and those key sites with most demand and in main tourism spots deserve the likes of Loraine De Mott. She is there through all seasons in all weather providing not just cleaning services but a familiar face with local knowledge and a happy smile.

This very paper conducted a survey of our local public toilets and it was no surprise that the toilets which took the top prize where those very facilities with full time attendants so I would urge all the readers of the paper to get themselves down to the toilets at the Pier at Gorleston and sign the petition to keep these and all the others attended. If our council can waste thousands on big screens no one wants and no one watches then at least they owe it to us and our visitors to provide first class loos.

PHIL HENLEY

Email

Get cyclists off

our promenade

AS a frequent user of both the upper and lower promenade at Gorleston, I find that cyclists are still using the promenade causing people walking, to take evasive action, and also being startled when the cyclists come from behind.

When politely challenged and informed it is prohibited during the period of May to September the majority plead ignorance of this, even though there is a prominent notice at the beginning of the promenade. This seems to be the only notice, unlike the large number of notices to dog owners to clear up after their dogs.

It would be helpful to have notices at the ravine entrance and other points of access to the promenade. It isn’t much to ask cyclists to refrain from using the promenade at these times when there are other designated cyclepaths available.

Name and Address withheld

Watch out for

Pillar damage

I WOULD like to appeal to the businesses, and their employees, surrounding the Norfolk Pillar on the South Denes Industrial Estate, would you please look out for children playing within the monument compound. They are vandalising this important grade 1 listed monument, by breaking up the York stone paving and plinths, and throwing it around both inside the area and out into the street.

This monument has stood for nearly 200 years, and is a tribute to Norfolk’s greatest hero.

The police have been informed, and have promised to check local CCTV. They have also agreed to check the area more frequently, but I feel it is incumbent on local families to make sure they know where their children are playing, and inform them of the importance of their heritage.

DAVID CANSWICK

Monument guide

Rail plan does

nothing for us

THE impressive government Rail Plans for the next five years sees nothing for our town.

In spite of all the huffing and puffing of local MPs, the Plan has nothing for the east apart from junction work at Ely. The map even leaves off the town!

We could have had an infill electrification scheme and the mainline line from Norwich upgraded. No, we are left to wait and the economic benefits of rail, especially electrification “the sparks effect” are not to be for us. So much for the private sector leading us into prosperity.

The report actually highlights the failure of rail privatisation - increased costs, late trains, overcrowding disjointed links between Network Rail and train operators. The taxpayer and users will have to pay. The privatised companies should being paying.

No doubt, much of the investment will disappear into profits and shareholder dividends. Refranchising may be another chance in a couple of years but few train companies will wish to invest the sums needed.

CHRIS WRIGHT

Victoria Street,

Caister

Wrong to get rid

of loo attendants

THE council got it wrong by axing toilet attendants – it will cause problems. They will be vandalised and will smell in the warm weather. There should be an attendant there, while open, to keep it clean. I would like to see the toll come back. I would pay for a clean toilet.

E EGGLETON

Ashwood Close

Caister-on-Sea

Celeb needed to question harbour

THE government of the day were brought to heel and in popular parlance “did a u-turn” on its position of Gurkhas by a celebrity-led campaign fronted by Joanna Lumley. Heathrow’s third runway suffered a similar fate because of the weight of opinion from predominately Tory/Liberal shires influencing their elected representatives in governmeInt.

Poor little Great Yarmouth, it matters not what publicly facilitated if not paid for projects are muscled into our borough with spurious promises, such as the outer harbour with speculative business plans, it has only ordinary people to stand up and point out that the king not only has no clothes, but doesn’t fulfill on its promises or published benefits.

Strange then that when messrs Cooper and Durrant like many who support the concept, point out that public money has a higher degree of transparency and accountability, their reward is to be pillared as nay sayers for pointing out the obvious, by their peers and hostile attacks from areas of elected officials and business.

I for one continue to support the concept of the outer harbour, but given the unfolding facts, a celebrity QC like Robert Jay at the Leveson enquiry into press standards would make interesting if not factual drama into the truth, as his like does not live in our fine borough, then I for one am prepared to listen to all sides of the debate offered by those prepared to ask reasonable questions.

STEVE TAYLOR

Clarence Road,

Gorleston

Lowestoft seems

to have it all...

WHEN in Lowestoft recently I couldn’t help noticing the following stores which used to grace our town centre are still all trading just down the road: Millets, Rymans, Clintons, Dorothy Perkins, Peacocks (and there’s still a Bon Marche open) also not forgetting the former Co-op store, Westgate, which is now trading as Beales. I’ve always said if Marks and Spencer had to choose between closing one of their stores in this area, I know which one would get the chop. While not wishing to sound pessimistic, neither Lowestoft or Norwich can compete with us for chip stalls.

R HARRISON

Euston Road

Great Yarmouth

CAB needs help

with funding

THE Citizens Advice Bureau in Great Yarmouth has given a fantastic service for years to local communities. Currently its use has risen to unprecedented levels. As Peter Howkins explained in his letter last week the CAB relies on volunteers to carry out this very important service for the people of Great Yarmouth.

This reliance on volunteers will increase with the expected rise in the numbers using the service when a series of welfare reforms planned by the Government take place in April 2013.

The first is the localisation of council tax benefit which the Government has implemented with a 10pc cut on previous years. This will result in higher bills for many people.

The second is the changes to housing benefit which could result in people with spare rooms loosing between 14pc and 25pc of their housing benefit. There will also be a benefit cap which will limit the amount of benefit people of working age can get.

The third will be the introduction of the universal benefit scheme aimed at reducing welfare costs.

All these cuts by the Government to benefits will place enormous financial pressure on many families. While the CAB is always willing to give advice and guidance it needs many more volunteers in the Great Yarmouth area. Details of how to help are on page 6 of the Borough News which has been delivered this week. Or contact Judith Bell at the CAB on 01493 84545.

BERNARD WILLIAMSON

CAB Trustee

Great to see local

business facilities

ISN’T it great to see a local young entrepreneur making a success of a business opportunity.

JayJay’s Beach Cafe on Gorleston’s lower promenade is a great addition to our facilities for both holidaymakers and residents. In good weather one can sit outside and enjoy the wonderful beach and sea view, while (unfortunately too often) it is a comfortable venue in the rain and cold for people to meet and chat.

It will be wonderful when Cllr Graham Plant’s vision for Pier Gardens to be modernised as a place where people can sit out and enjoy the atmosphere of a peaceful and pleasant seaside resort becomes a reality instead of just a vision.

PHILIP GUNN

Gorleston

Please clean up

you dog’s mess!

ON behalf of the residents of the Scratby Garden Centre end of Beach Road, I am requesting that the person/persons who allow their dog/dogs to foul the grass verges and pavement be good enough to clean up.

There are at least 20 heaps on this small section of the road with a new pile almost every day. This has been going on since the beginning of the year and has been reported to the dog wardens. As this road is used by holidaymakers it is not a good or healthy advertisement for our village.

Name and Address withheld

We run a door to

door bus service

I READ with interest the article in the Mercury regarding the proposed community bus to serve the villages of Ormesby, Scratby and California in order to plug the transport gap.

The purpose being to improve the quality of life for ‘isolated old folk and bring significant health benefits’.

Centre 81 runs a Door-to-Door Community Transport services that operates from 9am– 5.30pm Monday to Fridays. We serve all the villages and urban areas within the Borough of Great Yarmouth.

The service is open to anyone who is unable to access public transport services due to age related problems or disability. Membership is £5 to join and £3 annual renewal. There is a fare for each Door-to-Door journey which is calculated by mileage.

Members are asked to organise their own escort as required. Escorts are charged at half fare for regular journeys, they are not required to pay a joining or renewal fee. At this current time we are unable to accept concessionary bus passes.

The aim of the Door-to-Door service is to decrease social isolation and increase the opportunities for our members to be part of their local area and the wider community.

We undertake local trips for people within their village to visit friends, the doctors, dentist or their local shop. We take people further afield into the Great Yarmouth to the large supermarkets, stores on the Gapton Estate and to access Adult Education opportunities or to visit their favourite local pub for a meal, their club or bingo hall.

Subject to availability we can organise transport for people to go on holiday. For one off specialised journeys such as day trips a different fare structure exists.

Increasingly popular are the day trips that we provide for our members to go to Lowestoft, Norwich, Sheringham, on the river in an accessible River cruiser and a firm favourite are the visits to the Garden Centres around Norfolk.

Our fleet of eight fully accessible minibuses take manual and electric wheelchairs as well as the smaller scooters. All of our drivers are MiDAS trained and are experienced in offering our members a high quality service. Centre 81’s Community Transport Service is supported by our administration team.

If readers would like to know more, contact Phil on 01493 332253.

Any organisation who would like to know more about the service can contact Phil or via transport@centre81.com

DIANA STAINES

Chief Executive officer

Centre 81

Toilet cleaner has

little prospects

ONE of the toilet cleaners in the Yarmouth borough who is facing redundancy I know.

She has cleaned the toilets in Great Yarmouth for 19 years and there is little prospect for her to obtain further work elsewhere. She also does knitting, and I have bought two of her knitted items - and am waiting to buy a nativity set she has created.

She cleans the toilets immaculately and I for one, as well as many others, will miss her if she is one of the ones who is redundant.

I would like to thank her and wish her best, whatever happens.

JEANNETTE WILMER

Jeannie Mann Court

Lowestoft

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